By now, there are almost too many affirmative U.S. intelligence reports about the Russian government hacking the DNC (in order to get Trump elected) to count. The entire timeline of Trump-Russia links has reached a mind-boggling volume, yet the FBI and Congressional investigations about the hacking and possible collusion have only just begun. U.S. intelligence officials even say that Vladimir Putin was directly involved in orchestrating the attacks, but he’s still playing dumb with a series of accelerating comments.
On Thursday, Putin spoke with senior-level editors of several international publications (via the AP and the New York Times) and issued perhaps his most elaborate set of excuses yet on why the Kremlin is not to blame for the election-related hacking. First, Putin said that if anyone tried to influence the U.S. election, they’re probably trying to frame the Kremlin, or perhaps these are rogue yet “patriotically minded” hackers who love Russia:
“I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack. Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily … If they are patriotically minded, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia. Theoretically it’s possible.”
Theoretically? Even if one sets aside the magnitude of Russia’s obsession (and apparent success) in influencing the U.S. government, there’s also the recent French election hacking (which NSA Director Mike Rogers confirms was done by Russia) to cite. A few days ago, new French President Emmanuel Macron told Putin to his face that this Russian effort also included fake news and propaganda, which is a very real danger in many countries — influencing elections and even sparking genocide — and the threat continues.